The link between your dental hygiene and the overall health of your body is stronger than you might think.
Experts believe that most health problems can either be linked to or diagnosed by your mouth. Your overall oral health can give doctors a sneak peak onto other problems with your bodily functions and can even help ease some of the symptoms of health issues.
According to the Mayo Clinic,
“Your mouth is teeming with bacteria — most of them harmless. Normally the body's natural defenses and good oral health care, such as daily brushing and flossing, can keep these bacteria under control. However, without proper oral hygiene, bacteria can reach levels that might lead to oral infections, such as tooth decay and gum disease.”
Consequences of Poor Dental Health
Failing to brush and floss on a regular basis can create problems – not just in your mouth – but in the rest of your body too. Bacteria build up in your mouth can seep into your system and create problems in your cardiovascular system and can even attribute to heart disease.
When you don’t care for your oral health properly, you’ll generally need to spend money fixing your teeth. Yet did you know that you’ll also need to spend even more money caring for the rest of your system? Heart conditions, bacterial infections and other bodily issues related to poor hygiene can cost tens of thousands of dollars to fix. Brushing and flossing every day only costs pennies.
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Saliva and Your Health
Just as there is bad bacteria that can linger in your mouth, there is also such a thing as good bacteria. This good bacteria can help fight infection and create healthy gums and oral health. In order for your mouth to stay healthy, you need a normal amount of saliva to help fight off unhealthy bacteria.
Some medicines, such as antihistamines and pain relievers can dry your mouth out. When this happens, the bad bacteria can linger in your mouth for even longer. To keep your mouth healthy and the rest of your body healthy, you want to ensure you don’t get sick too often and only use these drugs when absolutely necessary.
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According to Colgate, “Saliva is also one of your body's main defenses against disease-causing organisms, such as bacteria and viruses. It contains antibodies that attack viral pathogens, such as the common cold and HIV.”
Diseases and Conditions Linked to Dental Health
Poor dental hygiene can also exacerbate certain types of medical ailments throughout the body. People who suffer from diabetes might experience more adverse reactions if they also suffer from gingivitis. Medical professionals believe that gingivitis can even lead to certain types of diabetes. One hypothesis is that the foods that are linked to diabetes are also linked to gingivitis.
Medical professionals also believe there is a link between gingivitis, periodontal disease and premature babies or babies that are underweight at birth. Osteoporosis, a condition that causes the bones to become brittle and break more easily has also been linked to diseases of the mouth.
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To ensure your body stays healthy, it makes sense to also ensure your dental health remains in tip-top shape. Brush twice a day and visit your dentist at least twice a year to ensure your dental – and your overall – health doesn’t fall to the wayside.